Plastic fantastic? In 1907 they thought so, when Bakelite, the first modern plastic, was invented.
Fifty years later they thought so again, when new manufacturing processes paved the way for cheap mass production. Plastic was praised for its waterproof, light and durable nature, making it particularly convenient for the transportation and storage of a huge variety of products and food.
But 70 odd years later, plastic's durability has become an environmental conundrum, partly because of how long it takes to break down.
With more than 150 million metric tonnes of plastic currently circulating in the world's oceans, we all need to play a part in the solution, helping to reduce the pollution plastic causes.
More and more, consumers are leading the way with their actions and purchases.
Obviously recycling is a top priority which can greatly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Simple decisions like choosing glass bottles and jars and canned food when possible also help.
Thankfully many are realising that personal convenience isn't paramount and that our cumulative mindful moments do add up.
Here are five ways you can help create a plastic-free environment.
With NZ's law change on single use plastic bags more and more people are bringing their own bags to the supermarket, meaning we are definitely heading in the right direction.
But we need to be mindful of bag-use beyond the supermarket.
Remember produce bags at the supermarket and to reuse containers for takeaways.
By keeping a net tote in your handbag, you'll always have a bag to pop things in when you're out running errands.
Lots of food outlets encourage bringing your own containers too and some even provide a discount.
Be aware that a lot of cardboard packaging used for takeaways actually has a plastic coating and may not be recyclable.
Countdown customers can now bring their own containers to deli, meat and seafood counters where they'll be cleaned, dried and weighed by staff before being filled.
There are an increasing number of shops that offer refillable bulk goods now, as well as your trusty supermarket. Visit GoodFor to purchase goods with a plastic-free delivery.
TIP: Keep a container in your desk drawer so when you've forgotten your lunch you're already sorted for buying takeaways. When you're at home, opt for freshly squeezed juice. It's good for you and can be stored in your own containers, rather than buying a new container every time.
Support companies that are making a difference by buying their products.
When you buy an ecostore Ocean Waste Plastic hand wash bottle it's the equivalent of removing three or four plastic bags from the ocean.
Ecostore are recovering over half a tonne of plastic from the world's oceans, rivers and beaches to make the 20,000 limited edition bottles.
They're designed to be refilled, which you can do at over 60 ecostore refill stations, including inside some supermarkets, with more of these to come.
TIP: To find a refill station near you go to https://ecostore.com/nz/storelocator/refill/.
Help clean up New Zealand's waterways by being part of a beach or river clean up in an area near you.
It will give you first-hand experience with the scale of the problem and you'll get a great sense of satisfaction removing rubbish and small plastic objects that could potentially harm sea creatures.
Don't just pass on useful items which could find a new lease of life with a new owner – pass on your knowledge as well.
Recommend environmentally-friendly products to family and friends. If you're particularly happy with eco-friendly products or have an idea to share, build awareness with sites such as 'Zero waste in NZ' on Facebook.
TIP: You can trust ecostore to be kinder to our world. From biodegradable ingredients to sugar plastic packaging they're constantly working on ways to save energy and resources, and reduce plastic waste.
Be a conscious consumer and help choose a better tomorrow. Go to ecostore.com to find out more.
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